Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Comfort Zone Part I

This morning I woke up to the sound of my alarm on full blast. It was some 50 cent song that immediately got me aggravated and prompted me to bring the gavel down on it, like Gallagher on a watermelon. As I shut my eyes again, another sound was audible -- the satisfying sound of rain patting the ground and at the same time, giving my car a well-needed wash.

If I was still in elementary school, I knew a good day would be ahead of me. Almost all play, and NO school work. Indoor recess. Pure bliss. Fast-forward another 15 years, and like most of us, we have to deal with the drudgery of work. It’s rainy days that make me miss all the comfort food we had in our younger days. My favorite was the generic 3-for-a-dollar Mac n’ Cheese. How can one forget the rock hard elbow pasta that can dent walls with a single toss, artificial/instant cheese that probably could’ve gotten you high, and the smell of freshly grounded CARDBOARD. Mmmm. No, this isn’t Velveeta – it’s too cheap to be Kraft or Velveeta. Only the privileged got that brand, but I still love my parents regardless.

As soon as I got off work, I headed down to the market with Mac n’ Cheese on my mind. I know a lot of people love it Southern style – baked in the oven with a field of bread crumbs over it. Not me. I love it cheesy and creamy. This is my first time making it. Please let me know if you have any ideas for improving this comfort food. I first melted some butter and added flour to make a roux. I then added some whole milk and let it boil. I added a block of mild cheddar cheese and a few slices of provolone (thanks to Gary!). Salt and pepper to taste. Add a few scoops of cheese on the macaroni and mix it up. Garnish with parsley, pepper and a little hot sauce. Enjoy. Read more!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

One Block of Fish -- Two Delicious Meals

With places like Sasabune and Yabu in the Sawtelle area, one doesn’t have to travel far for melt-in-your-mouth sushi. But you’ll find yourself driving to the ATM quite frequently. It’s a fact, good sushi isn’t cheap and neither are those aforementioned places. So do what I do when you’re checking account is in double digits. Go buy your own block of fish!

After checking out all the Japanese markets on Sawtelle and Mitsuwa on Centinela, I found my tuna block. I think I spent about $12. I thought about going to Ralph’s, but I had been warned by my friends to go to a Japanese market instead. It is said that the fish meat is injected with food coloring to feign freshness. Terrible.

Here’s my seared tuna salad. Cut the block in half and dipped it in sesame seeds with a little salt. Sear both sides for about 2 minutes on medium heat until an 1/8 of an inch is browned. Slice up some green onions (curly style) and make your own marinade. You can use Angelo Pietro’s fantastic dressing or just conjure up a soy sauce/vinegar/sugar/sesame oil dressing in a matter of seconds.

The remaining half of the block requires no cooking. Just sashimi it with a few radish sprouts. Instead of using plain sauce, I like to microplane garlic and ginger and mix it in with the soy sauce. I had it this way in Hong Kong and haven't eaten sushi any other way.

For a side dish I like to eat cold tofu with soy sauce, furikake, bonito flakes and sesame oil. And also a cold wakame (seaweed) salad which consists of salt, sugar, vinegar, white pepper and sesame seeds. Enjoy.
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

Who would’ve thought that tortilla chips scrambled with egg, salsa and cheese could be such a day-starting meal - only Eat Well in West Hollywood. I first had this delightful dish back at my old agency’s cafeteria and found it to be just as unique as the Peruvian saltado dish (meat, tomatoes, onions and FRIES sautéed in soy sauce). Ever since then, chilaquiles are the first thing I look for at any Mexican restaurant, but it’s also quite hard to find. If you know of any other places that serve up chilaquiles, please inform me. For $6.75, Eat Well serves a generous portion of chilaquiles with rice and beans. Don’t feel like trying this, you’ll find your typical diner fare plus an extended breakfast menu that ends at 3 pm. Have fun coloring/drawing on their paper mats while you wait. Read more!

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